Stranger in the Village

Good Essays
Decreasing Racism
African American racial tension has decreased drastically, since the fifties our country has leaps and bounds towards equality. James Baldwin wrote Stranger in the Village, and he wrote about his experience living in a small Swiss village and how he was able to evaluate the American society and its issues of race. Baldwin specifically focused on African American racial issues. Baldwin makes arguments about how race is treated much different in Europe, he also argued how there are still a lot of problems with American society that need to be changed. I agree with Baldwin's thoughts however this essay is outdated and isn't completely relevant to our society today; however some of the broader ideas are. One of Baldwin's ideas I found interesting embodied how the racism he encountered in the Swiss village seemed to be the same as America's racism but turned out being much different. When he got there the people stared at him and rubbed him to see if the black would come off, the children shouted "neger" and ran from him. Baldwin soon realized that the villagers were more interested in him rather then being malicious. This village is very small and only has a population of six hundred. These villagers never leave and not too many people come in, other then tourists who are always white people apparently.
"Europe's black possessions remained-and do remain-in Europe's colonies, at which remove they represented no threat whatever to Europe's identity… the black man, as a man did not exist for Europe. But in America, even as a slave, he was an inescapable part of the general social fabric and no American could escape having an attitude toward him… these abstractions reveals the tremendous effects the presence of the Negro has had on the American Character."(pg 99)
This passage expresses why those acts of racism were much different. I really can't talk for Europe but I do understand why our society treated African American so much differently. Our



Bibliography: Baldwin James "Stranger in the Village" Ways of Reading. David BArntholomae Anthony Petrosky, New York: Bedford/ St. Martin 's 2005

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